Meet Our Board of Directors
New Mexico Community Foundation (NMCF) Board of Directors is a volunteer group of community leaders and professionals with a deep passion for philanthropy and a commitment to the people and places of New Mexico. Their unique and diverse interests, vision and experience provide inspired leadership on vital issues that impact all New Mexicans.
Read on to learn about Board members’ community work in New Mexico and beyond, and to hear why they choose to serve NMCF.
Ted O. Harrison
Santa Fe, NM
Ted O. Harrison is the founder and president of Commonweal Conservancy, a nonprofit conservation-based community development organization located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Since 2003, Commonweal has championed a 13,000-acre conservation initiative that will ensure permanent protection for more than 12,500 acres of an internationally acclaimed cultural landscape, known as the Galisteo Basin. Commonweal’s work has been showcased by the Urban Land Institute and National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. as a “path-setting conservation development of national significance.”
Prior to founding Commonweal, Harrison served as a senior vice president and national programs director with the Trust for Public Land (TPL) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ted’s 17-year career with TPL included a diverse array of project management, organizational leadership, and national program development responsibilities. Concurrently with his leadership of Commonweal, Harrison served as the interim CEO and president of the New Mexico Community Foundation between 2015-16. In this capacity, Ted facilitated the organization’s assessment of a possible merger and, subsequently, led the recruitment and hiring of new leadership.
Laura Hall, Treasurer
Laura Hall is a senior portfolio manager with REDW Stanley providing investment advice to individuals,corporations and pension clients. She is a voting member and Secretary for the REDW Stanley Investment Committee. Laura joined REDW Stanley after years of experience as a financial analyst and relationship manager with various major brokerage firms and financial institutions. Laura holds the IMCA Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) certification and the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation. She is a member of the CFA Institute, Investment Management Consultants Association, Financial Planning Association, and New Mexico Estate Planning Council. Laura has served as Chair of the firm’s United Way Campaign for three years after being a member of the Committee for a number of years. She also served as the Secretary and Vice Chairman of the Board of Public Accountancy for the state of New Mexico.
Robert Otto Valdez, Ph.D., Chairman
Robert Otto Valdez, Ph.D. is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Professor of Family & Community Medicine and Economics and conducts policy analyses and research at the University of New Mexico where he serves as the Executive Director of the RWJF Center for Health Policy. He is an adjunct Senior Health Scientist at RAND and a Senior Fellow at Emory University’s Institute for Advanced Policy Solutions. He is internationally recognized as an expert on health services research methodology, the U.S. health care system, and health policy analysis. In 1998, Dr. Valdez served as Senior Advisor to the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. From 1993 to 1997, he served in a dual capacity at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Public Health Service and Director of Interagency Health Policy, Health Care Financing Administration. Prior to joining the Department of Health and Human Services, he served as a Senior Advisor to the White House on health care reform.
Bruce Bleakman, Vice Chair
Bruce Bleakman is a partner in REDW, The Rogoff Firm, New Mexico’s largest public accounting firm. With more than 20 years of experience in public accounting, he specializes in serving tribal governments and enterprises and has worked with tribes and pueblos in New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, California and Washington State. Bleakman is a nationally recognized speaker on corporate governance and audit independence issues and serves on the Albuquerque Public Schools audit committee and the investment committee of the nonprofit American Indian Graduate Center in Albuquerque.
David S. Henkel, Ph.D.
Santa Fe, NM
David S. Henkel is Professor Emeritus of Community and Regional Planning at the University of New Mexico where he taught for 24 years, specializing in Natural Resources and Environmental Planning, Rural Community Development, and International Development. Previously he served the State of New Mexico as Director of Economic Development, Director of International Trade, chief planner for the NM office of the Southwest Border Regional Commission, and as a specialist in alternative energy. Dr. Henkel holds a doctoral degree in the Sociology of International Development, and two degrees in South Asia Regional Studies. Living in northern New Mexico since 1975, he currently resides in Santa Fé. He has served on the Program and Grants Committee of NMCF.
JoAnn Melchor, Secretary
Santo Domingo Pueblo, NM
JoAnn Melchor is from Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico and has extensive experience working with youth, parents and communities throughout New Mexico, the U.S. and Latin America. She currently is the Executive Director of Southwest Youth Services, a non-profit founded in 2004, based at the Native American Community Academy campus in Albuquerque, NM. Their mission is to provide positive youth development through educational, health and wellness and youth leadership components in partnership with Native American communities and organizations. JoAnn is a lifelong volunteer and advocate for programs and educational activities that promote the well being of children and positive development of communities. JoAnn serves on several boards in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Cochiti Pueblo, NM
Regis Pecos was born, raised, and is a lifelong member and resident of Cochiti Pueblo. A member of the Cochiti Tribal Council for 28 years, he served numerous times as Lt. Governor and Governor. Regis was one of the first Native Americans elected to a New Mexico local school board. He also served on the Board of the Santa Fe Indian School and chaired the Board for 15 years. He co-founded the New Mexico Leadership Institute, a Think Tank for native people and has served in a number of US congressionally appointed positions. He is currently a member of the Board of Governors of the Honoring Nations at Harvard University and serves as a senior advisor and faculty to the Native Nations Institute of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona. He recently received an appointment to the School of Public Policy as an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico where he taught last fall. He is also the only Native American member of the New Mexico Judicial Evaluation Commission, an appointment he received by the New Mexico State Supreme Court. He is also a member of the Board of the New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty. Regis, for 16 years, was the longest serving Executive Director of the New Mexico Indian Affairs Office. He has also received two New Mexico distinguished public service awards. He was Chief of Staff to the late Speaker Ben Lujan, serving in that position for 12 years. In January of 2013, Regis became the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Majority Office in the New Mexico House of Representatives and the Chief of Staff to the Majority Floor Leader. He is also is the author of a number of publications about Pueblo language, Pueblo culture, federal Indian law and policies, environmental management, education , economic development, and water rights.
Barbara Poley (Hopi/Laguna) is Executive Director of the Hopi Foundation, a nonprofit corporation established by the Hopi people to promote self-sufficiency, community participation, self-reliance and self-determination. Poley has decades of urban, rural and reservation grassroots community experience as well as professional experience with communities of color. She was formerly the vice president of Native Americans in Philanthropy and president of the Hopi Tribe Education Endowment Fund. She is a recipient of the 2005 Ford Foundation Leadership for A Changing World award and a 2006 Louis T. Delgado Distinguished Grantmaker Award from Native Americans in Philanthropy.
“I am honored to participate in NMCF’s organizational cycle of growth and renewal. My life experience created my belief in building endowments to provide grant making to invest in the great ideas that people create for their self-sustaining destiny. One reason I accepted the invitation to join NMCF board comes from a Hopi value which I aspire to complete: To have the greatest feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment by participating in social and community functions, and to know that my contributions will result in benefits to the community and people, and that it makes a positive difference.” —Barbara Poley
Las Vegas, NM
Based in Las Vegas, New Mexico, Marshall Poole is a media producer and technical director of some of the country’s largest conventions. He was a founding board member and past president of the Northeastern (New Mexico) Regional Community Foundation. Poole is interim president of the Animal Welfare Coalition of Northeastern New Mexico and liaison to Animal Protection New Mexico. He has been a volunteer and board member of a number of not-for-profit organizations. He is recipient of numerous awards, including the “Service Above Self” award from the Rotary District that comprises New Mexico.
Santa Fe, NM
Tess joined the NMCF board in 2016 and is happy to serve NMCF as a board member based in Santa Fe, where she was born and raised. Since graduating from UNM Law School in 2012, Tess has held various public interest legal roles, serving clients from farmworkers to survivors of domestic violence throughout the state. Tess is currently a staff attorney with New Mexico Legal Aid. Tess is also the proud wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin and friend of fellow New Mexicans making great contributions to our state.